16 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2021
    1. Rodolfo: I'm a victim of sexual abuse in the United States and there was a police report made and everything. And I've also been a victim of gang violence. I was never, you can check my background and everything. I was never into gangs or anything, but around the area I lived in there was a bunch of gangs and... I was beat up two or three times bad just by walking home. And it was all documented, I had police reports and everything. And because of that I was in therapy for while. My mother sought out a help from a psychiatrist because of the sexual abuse I had as a child in California, as a matter of fact.Rodolfo: I took Risperdal and a Ritalin, Risperdal for the anxiety and the Ritalin and for the ADHD. So, we tried everything. The mental health side, the mental health asylum, everything. But it was just going to take longer and longer and longer and I was tired of it. I didn't want to be locked up anymore. So, finally I just told my mom, “You know what man, that's it, I'm done. I don't want to do this anymore.” She asked me, “Is this what you want to do?” And I told her, “Yeah.”Rodolfo: She told me, “You know what? I'd much rather see you over there and be free then not being able to see you here at all.” Because there was a lot of people that went to go visit their loved ones and they used to get picked up. Sometimes they wouldn't even let you see your loved ones and right away ask you for your identification, your social security card, your nationality and everything and they would get picked up.Rodolfo: And I always told my mom, “Don't ever come visit me. Don't ever come visit me because if you do, chances are they're going to take you too.” And you know, that would always break my heart because I would want to see my mom. I'd want to see my dad and everything, but I wasn't able to. So, that experience was just horrible.Sergio: When you were in the detention center what were the conditions? Did you have access the medicine you needed? Did you have access to food and water?Rodolfo: The company that made the jail was called GEO Corp and they were actually, I'm not going to lie to you, they actually were pretty good, health-wise, not so much security-wise. A lot of things would happen in there that definitely shouldn't have ever happened. But with the food and everything, it was good. In my opinion it was because of the company. I feel as though if it was up to the government... Thank God it was an independent company that was hired by DHS as opposed to if DHS were to make their own jail, I feel they would be completely different.Rodolfo: It was [Pause] a pleasantly... there's no way to describe it, it was bad. It was bad, but for what it was I guess it was okay. I don't see there being an in-between or any pretty way to paint that picture as to how good or bad it was in there. Because at the end of the day you're deprived of your freedom. You can't just pick up the phone whenever you want and call your loved ones because you've got to pay for that too. You got pay for that. And if you want to take a shower, you have to buy your soap, right? You've got to buy it yourself, you've got to buy everything. And now you're becoming a liability for your family, you're becoming another bill.Rodolfo: You're becoming another bill and that's what I didn't want. So, that's why I started working. And now, older, I'm becoming another bill. So, I don't get it. You're taking us away from the jobs that we have and everything. You know? So, take us back to our country. And I'm not sure if it this is a fact or not, but I was reading when I first got in here, there was a time where there wasn't enough field workers for, I think, avocado—or, not avocado, I think it was oranges or something like that.Rodolfo: And I remember me saying, “Well, there goes all the deportees. There goes all the people you guys deported. Where are the people that were so outraged because we took your jobs? Go ahead, there you go. There are a lot of vacancies, making these open for those jobs, go ahead, man. All yours buddy, knock yourself out.”Rodolfo: But nobody wants to work those jobs, right? You see what I'm saying though, right?

      Leaving the US, Reason for Return, Deportation, Voluntary departure, Family decision, No hope for a future in the US, Detention, Treatment by; Time in the US, Violence, Sexual Abuse, Gangs, Bullying, Fear of, Jobs/employment/work

    2. Sergio: After your mom told you couldn't go on that trip, how did that affect the way you were involved in school, the things you wanted to do, did that change? Is there anything that you...?Rodolfo: I didn't put as much effort as I did anymore. I knew, at the end of the day, I'm not eligible for scholarships. I don't get any aid, I don't get anything. In my mind I thought, “Man, what's the point of really working hard in school if at the end of the day, I'm not gonna get any help?” My mom is having to work to put me through college. No, I don't want this, so I just thought, you know what, I'm just gonna give her what she wants, my diploma, my high school diploma. From then on, if I want to do something, it'll be by my own hand, out of my own pocket. I didn't want her to... Not that I was a burden or anything, my objective was for her not to work that much. That's it.Rodolfo: After she told me that, I'm like, "Well, okay, what's the point of really working hard and putting your best effort into school if, in my position, I won't be able to surpass US citizens." Then the aspect of financial aid, or any aid at all, I'm not gonna have any of that. I tried it with the fake social, but obviously it didn't go through. Nothing happened. Yeah, it changed a lot. It changed the way I viewed everything around me. Like, spring break all my friends would go certain places out of the country, and I used to get invited and, "No, I can't go man, my family doesn't think..." It would always have to be lie after lie after lie. I didn't want to... for one, I always had that idea of like my mom and my family always told me, "Don't ever tell anybody you're an immigrant. If somebody has that knowledge they can do you harm. They can take you away from here, they can take us away from each other."Rodolfo: I'm seeing it now, with the families going across the border, and them being separated. I didn't understand it at the time, and man, now I do understand it. I didn't know how it really was until I finally got put in handcuffs and got shipped to an immigration facility.Sergio: What do you think you would have wanted or end up being before you found out? What kind of things... Like you were on debate team that was—Rodolfo: I wanted to be a lawyer, man, that's what I wanted to be. That's what I wanted to be, a lawyer. It's funny, because when I was younger I wanted to be a lawyer. Then after that I'm like, "I want to be an immigration lawyer, that's what I want to be now. I want to be an immigration lawyer.” I was already on the right track to being a lawyer, but then when that happened, it really opened my eyes more to, "Okay, let's help my people." I didn't realize... I know individuals over there who are citizens, and they're panhandling because they want to. They're on their own addiction or for whatever reason right? Or people who are just living off the government, but then I see some of my family members, or my friends’ family members and they're not citizens but they have businesses.Rodolfo: They have a business, they have trucks, they have houses, they're great. They're not living off the Government, they're not asking for a handout. They're living better than what a citizen is living. It's all about how much work you put in, right? If you hang around people who don't want to do anything, then you're not gonna do anything. I remember Gerald Ford always told me that. He was like, "If you want to be a millionaire, hang around millionaires. If you want to be successful, hang around people who do successful things, but if you want to keep doing what you're doing, and just be a little caddie or whatever, stay here. Stay here and maybe one day you'll do something else."Rodolfo: He was very blunt in that aspect like, "Always do a good job. I don't care if you're a shit-shoveler, you're gonna be the best shit shoveler there is.” That always stuck to me, that's why whatever I do, it's always been 100%.Sergio: That's good.Anita: Can I speak? I'm Anita, I'm the director of this project.Rodolfo: Okay.Anita: I'm really pleased to meet you—Sergio: Likewise.Anita: I'm amazed at your incredible story. When you talked about the trip to DC, the debate club, and you got very sad—Rodolfo: Yeah.Anita: ... what made you sad, and did it make you feeling... Do you remember what your feelings were as you sort of found that all these options were gone to you?Rodolfo: Well, it was just mixed emotions. I felt sad because I contributed to the team a lot. I wasn't just there, and it made me sad because I wasn't going to be able be with my friends, my teammates. It also made me mad because all my life, all my short period, my whole time here in Chicago or whatever, I don't think I've done anything bad. Why shouldn't I have the privilege to go if I put in the same work as they did? Only because I don't have a social security number or a document that lets me buy a plane ticket and go over there? I think about it in a different—at the same time, I was a little kid too—I just cried a lot. That night I just cried a lot because I knew I wasn't gonna go. My mom spoke to the, I'm not sure what my mom told her, but see, I don't think she told her that we're undocumented, and I can't fly.Rodolfo: Yeah, I just remember that night feeling very sad, very sad, but then it turned into anger. It was like, "Man, why can't I?" It was always just that, "Why can't I? I put in the same work, and just because I wasn't born here, I can't fly?" I even looked into bus routes and everything to DC and stuff like that, but my mom was like, "No, you're crazy, you can't go alone." She worked and everything, I just felt sad, mostly sad.

      Time in the US, Immigration Status, Being secretive, Hiding/lying, In the shadows, lost opportunities; Reflections, The United States, Worst parts of the US, US government and immigration, Growing up undocumented, Dreams; Feelings, Choicelessness, Despair, Legal Status, Disappointment, Discouragement, Frustration, Sadness, Jaded

    3. Anita: Did Gerald Ford know you were undocumented?Rodolfo: No, Gerald Ford didn't know I was undocumented, no. I was still very young at that point. My mother and my family always told me, "Don't let anybody know you're undocumented.” If somebody finds out, for whatever reason, there's some people who just are plain out racist or don't want people like me in the States. Sometimes they just do things to... I don't know. That's what I understood and that's what I took in and that's what I applied to my life. It's like living a secret, it was like living a second life or whatever. It’s like, "Oh shit, why do I have to lie, why?" I guess it's neither here nor there now, right? I'm here in Mexico.Anita: That must have been incredibly difficult. I know personally, because I've had to keep secrets.Rodolfo: Yeah, I guess it's one of those things where you think it's never really gonna affect you, until you're in the back of the DHS, the Department of Homeland Security, van. You're next to a whole bunch of people you never met, and they're also in the same position. Some don't even speak English. You don't really understand how immediately it can affect you until it affects you. I never thought it would affect me. Okay, well I mean, I'm working, I'm going to school—I'm in high school—I'm doing this, this and that. Some of my friends who are students already dropped out. Did everything, they’ve already gone to prison and back and everything, and they haven't even hit their 21st birthday.Rodolfo: And I'm still good, I'm still good. I may not be a straight A student or anything, but hey man, I'm still here! Why can't I have the same privilege as you all do? Why can't I get my license? You know how happy I was when I got my license here, damn. I love to drive, that's one of my passions. Always, always, always I love to drive. I couldn't get my license over there. I remember even in high school in drivers ed, I knew what the answer was, but I asked my mom, “Hey mom, can I apply for drivers ed, so I can get my license? “She was like, "You know you can't get your license." Again, one of the primary things, I’m like damn, I'm just not gonna be able to drive all my life? Or if I do drive and I get pulled over—as a matter of fact, that's the reason why I got deported, driving without a valid drivers license.Rodolfo: I never got why the paper said, "Driving on a suspended license." I would always ask them, "If I don't have a license, why is it suspended?" They just told me, "Because you have a drivers license number, but you don't have a drivers license? I'm like, "Okay, so if I have a drivers license number, why can't I get my drivers license?" "You don't have the proper documentation." I'm like, "But I have my..."Rodolfo: One day I thought, “Well why don't I just grab the driver license number and have somebody make me a fake drivers license, and put the drivers license on there?” But see, if I get caught with it, now I'm in more trouble, and now I'm seen as a real criminal, because now I'm going around the system once again. That's why we don't want you here, because you're gonna do things like that. [Exhale] I haven't talked about this in a while. It just makes me want to…I don’t know.

      Time in the US, Immigration Status, Being secretive, Hiding/lying, In the shadows, Living undocumented; Reflections, The United States, US government and immigration; Feelings, Frustration; Time in the US, Jobs/employment/work, Documents, Driver's license, Social security card/ID

    4. Sergio: Did you ever work in the US?Rodolfo: Yeah, I worked all the time, I never stopped. One of the first jobs I had…My uncle worked at a restaurant called, Baker's Square in Chicago. It was on the corner of Tui and Pratt. I really, really, really wanted—I think I was in fifth or sixth grade—a phone. I wanted a phone, it’s called the Psychic Slide. Phones used to flip, but this one slides. I wasn't gonna ask my mom for it, so I asked my uncle. "Hey man, I know you work at Baker's Square and I know around the holiday season it gets really busy. Can I help you? Can I go?" He's like, "Well, yeah, if you want." I used to wake up like 3:00 in the morning, and I used to go and help him out. After that, I really liked making money and I really liked dressing nice, I liked having my nice haircut or whatever. My very, very first job was in Wilmette, Illinois. I was a caddie. Yeah, and then—Sergio: On the golf course?Rodolfo: On the golf course, yeah. Wilmette Golf Course actually. I remember I was always the first one there. They used to choose us, when everybody got there, "Okay, you come with me, you come with me." I used to always go there and there was a gentleman by the name of... Man, I forgot his name. Like the President, Gerald Ford, that was his name Gerald Ford! The only reason I remembered was because of the President. He used to always get there around the same time I got there. He finally asked me, "Do you want to be my personal caddie? I don't want you working anymore with all these other kids, because nobody wants to work. Do you want to be my personal caddie?" I'm like, "Yeah, absolutely." It was going really, really well and everything.Rodolfo: I got to high school, I had a number of jobs. I worked at Subway, I worked at Chili's, I worked at... What was it? Outback Steak House, but then I finally just got to the Cheesecake Factory, and that's where I stayed the remainder of my time. The remainder of my time I stayed there, and I started from the busboy and I finally ended up being a bartender. One of the head bartenders, one of the head servers, they used to pay-out people and everything. Obviously, I didn't have my social or anything, but I was a little bit older than what I really was. When I first got there, when I first, first started working I think I was like 14. Obviously you can't work that young, I think actually, I was 18, at 14.Rodolfo: I didn't see it as anything bad. I knew that if I got caught with my fake ID and my fake social security card I'd get in trouble, but that's why we're there, that's why we worked. I didn't get a fake ID to go party or go get into clubs or bars or anything. The main purpose of it was for me to be able to get a job, and so my mom wouldn't have to work all those hours that she used to work. She used to work at a Burger King, overnight. I used to barely see her, and I didn't want that anymore. I told her, "You don't have to work that much if I start working. We can help each other out, we can, we're a team.” It was only my mother and I until I turned 14, when she met my stepdad. All throughout that, it was just my mother and I.

      Time in the US, Jobs/employment/work, Documents, Careers, Food services, Athletics

  2. Feb 2021
  3. Jan 2021
    1. I remember reading Matt Bruenig when I was in college, and he was like, “Well, actually Social Security was the most effective pathway to bring people out of poverty.”  I wrote a story in 2017 called “Why Education Is Not the Key to a Good Income,” and it was looking at this growing body of research that showed it was not your level of education that determined your chances of rising economic mobility. It was these other factors—like what kind of industries were in your community, union density, some of it was marriage. 

      makes sense... the best way out of poverty isn't education... it's money.

  4. Dec 2020
  5. Oct 2020
  6. Aug 2020
  7. Apr 2020
  8. Oct 2019
    1. new data provided by the Department of Human Services showed that almost half of all pension applications received last year were not processed within the timeframe set out in their Key Performance Measure standards

      Key Performance Measure for social security processing

  9. Apr 2016
    1. The Finnish government is currently drawing up plans to introduce a national basic income. A final proposal won’t be presented until November 2016, but if all goes to schedule, Finland will scrap all existing benefits and instead hand out €800 ($870) per month—to everyone.